When Your Message Isn’t Getting Through
Why isn’t my message getting through? Why aren’t they opening my emails, especially when they asked for it? Why isn’t my presentation resonating?
Here’s a few ideas to consider:
Be clear about the point of the communication. Why are you communicating? To educate? To inform? To change a perspective? To elicit action?
Focus on a few key messages. One is ideal but usually no more than 3.
Know your audience. Understand their level of knowledge and cater to that. Don’t assume too much (because it’s easier for you) but don’t treat them like idiots, either.
Storyboard, storyboard, storyboard. Organize the key messages in a cohesive, organized fashion.
Make the messages simple and clear cut. The reader shouldn’t have to work to absorb the content.
Engage wherever you can. Illustrate the ideas, don't just lecture. Find ways to encourage interactive responses and engagement.
If a picture (or chart or other graphic) tells the story, don’t put it in words as well.
(By the way, if you have to use a table, explain the key takeaways. Otherwise, you’re making them work - unless that’s your intent.)
Talk like a human being. Just as we say don’t speak in legalese, equally spare then the consultantese. No buzzwords (aka consulting bullshit) unless it’s absolutely relevant.
Find alternate ways to disseminate the information. Website, portal, email, video, texts, etc. Different people receive and absorb information in different ways. (Again, know your audience.)
Don’t get caught up in a romantic notion of sharing your knowledge. Focus. Everything you know isn’t necessarily everything they need to hear in that instance.
And, of course, if after repeated attempts, you’re still not getting traction, then maybe it’s time to stop. Perhaps, the messages don’t have value.